Just a Girl in the Whirl
by Annie Wood
“I never know what to say to her.” Matty complains.
“You don’t need to say anything. Just your presence is enough.”
I put Sara’s old baby monitor in Mom’s room so I can hear Matty enter. I imagine Mom is watching TV with it turned off again.
“This is my favorite part.” Mom says.
Matty doesn’t say anything. She’s probably just staring at her. Matty often just stares at her.
“Tell me something I don’t know,” Mom says.
After a moment, Matty says, “Did you know that Americans watch two hundred and fifty billion hours of television a year?”
I can hear Mom applauding and then saying softly, “I love you so much, Matty.”
Matty says nothing in response. I could almost hear her heart break into a million little pieces, then I heard footsteps, and then the door closing. Matty comes zooming down the stairs. She pauses and looks out the front window. “Grandma Gayle is here.”
Grandma Gayle is Dad’s mom and when she knocks on the door, it means one thing and one thing only: it’s payday.
I open the door. She stands there, studying me. I know I look like a mess with my wild, unbrushed hair and olive oil stained t-shirt. I’m the polar opposite of this woman who stands before me. Gayle is tall, super thin, and doesn’t look like anybody’s grandma. Not at all. She speaks abruptly, using as few words as possible so she can get to the point quickly. I’m pretty sure she uses less words than the most mortals.
~ © Annie Wood
Lauren is counting down the days until her eighteenth birthday. For the last two years, she has been thrust into the role of primary caregiver to her two younger sisters and her mother after the sudden departure of her father. Addressing everyone else’s needs before her own, the real Lauren is relegated to dreams and middle-of-the-night writing sessions in the privacy of her bathtub. When her father makes an unexpected return into their lives, Lauren’s carefully kept façade begins to unravel, and she must re-establish her precarious balance in order to keep herself afloat.
Annie Wood is a Middle Eastern-American, neurodiverse, Hollywood native, a lifelong actor, writer & self-proclaimed creative-compulsive. As an author, Annie has three books out: Dandy Day, Just a Theory: a quantum love adventure, and her first YA novel, Just a Girl in the Whirl. The web series she wrote, Karma’s a Bitch, was Best of the Web on Virgin America inflight entertainment. She’s written hundreds of comedic scenes for actors that have been used by Emmy award-winning TV director, Mary Lou Belli in her UCLA courses and casting director, Jeremey Gordon in workshops all around Hollywood.